Community college professional development programs can be dynamic forces in helping community colleges address significant issues, create solutions for change, and create opportunities for renewal. This issue examines the challenges and rewards of creating an effective professional development program.
Editor Gordon E. Watts, professor of higher education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, brings together the research and findings of scholars in the fields of higher education and economics as well as the perspectives of professionals in staff and organizational development at community colleges and community based organizations. Beginning with an overview of the ongoing need for professional development in the community college, its current status, its struggles to become institutionalized as a function in the community college, the issue offers a much needed perspective on professional development's expanding role and that challenges that it continues to face. Chapter authors illustrate how their institutions have addressed issues through professional development, created institutional change, developed new delivery systems for professional development, reached beyond development just for faculty, and found new uses for traditional development activities.
Faculty development programs examined include orientation programs for new faculty members and programs that address the specific needs of part-time faculty. An analysis of an innovative online faculty development delivery system for both new and part-time faculty is presented along with positive outcomes of the program's implementation at two separate institutions. Another chapter explores the emergence of teaching and learning centers as catalysts for effective faculty development and institutional change.
Addressing campus development needs beyond faculty, other chapters examine staff development programs that include administration and classified staff as well as comprehensive programs that address professional development across the campus. The highly successful "great teacher" model for faculty development is revisited with descriptions of how the Great Teachers Seminars model can be taken a step further and successfully applied to classified, administration, and organizational development initiatives.
As senior staff and faculty move toward retirement in greater numbers, potential shortages in leadership create the need for effective professional development at leadership levels. Evolution of the Presidents Academy, an innovative professional development program for newly appointed presidents, is examined in detail. Also explored is the need and importance of a renewed focus on leadership development overall and how leadership development strategies can be strengthened to ensure a continuous supply of well-trained community college leaders.